Cardiac ultrasound represents an often-called-upon imaging modality for diagnosis and surveillance in a wide range of both inpatients and outpatients, including those with myocardial infarctions, congestive heart failure symptoms, cardiomyopathies, congenital valvular abnormalities, suspected endocarditis, and so many more symptom presentations and illnesses.

Not only should cardiologists be facile with the interpretation of echocardiograms, but many physicians and physicians-in-training can benefit from a familiarity with formal as well as beside ultrasound imaging of the heart.

Here we review the Echocardiography Atlas App, edited by a Harvard Medical School professor and designed by Modality.

Edited by Dr. Scott Solomon, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Noninvasive Cardiac Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Echo Atlas App is designed in conjunction with Modality.

Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Durham, NC, Modality prides itself as a “premier developer of interactive learning, assessment, training and reference apps.” Since the App Store launched in July 2008, Modality has released more than 140 apps for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad™ in partnership with Elsevier, CSI, McGraw-Hill Professional, Pearson, The Princeton Review, Thieme Publishers, John Wiley & Sons, and Wolters Kluwer, among others. In our opinion, Modality has a solid and substantial history of producing well-built educational apps, especially those for health care education.

As for the app itself, the Echo Atlas is organized into twelve chapters of normal and abnormal echocardiograms, as shown on the app’s home screen:

The app encompasses 250 annotated images and 189 videos, all organized into these 12 chapters shown above.  Clicking on a chapter, such as “Aortic Valve Disease,” brings up the chapter’s associated images and videos:

The video buttons depict which images have associated videos with the particular finding and ultrasound view.  Moreover, chapters are also searchable for specific terms.

Alternatively, the “All Figures” function from the home screen brings up the entirety of the Echo Atlas’s collection, sorted by chapter but with the ability to quickly search for a desired image or video:

Regardless of how a topic and view is selected (here, bicuspid aortic valve in the parasternal long-axis, or PLAX, view), the app features an annotated image with or without a video, and several sentences highlighting the topic as well as pointing out a couple key elements to observe on the image and video:

The images (here, the normal exam in the PLAX view) are generally well-annotated with labels, and have the option to toggle the labels on or off: